Dealing with the Creative Slump

Last week, I had the chance to talk to a friend who was in a creative slump.  Every one’s situation and circumstances are different.  The best I can do is use my experiences as reference and hope that you may find a way out of yours.

We all make excuses.  For the longest time, I “knew” what I should do but I found many reasons not to do it.

Excuses

Excuses Ahead warning symbol
Yes I made this for fun!

Whether it was really fear of the unknown, laziness, no time/too busy or no money, I would use any of those or a combination to stop myself from doing things.

Excuses turns into Laziness which becomes Avoidance.

I’ve had many setbacks and life isn’t perfect.  I really doubt a perfect life exists.  My life hasn’t been a straight path.  I’ve always taken the indirect path to my goals, sometimes by choice and sometimes by things out of my control.  My sensei once told me to just persevere.

Other times, I just needed to stop what I was forcing myself to do.  I literally stop anything unnecessary.  I reassess my goals and my needs.  Do what I need to do to clear out the cobwebs in my head and choose a path of action that I feel 100% behind.

Creatives are emotional and passionate beings.  When inspired, we pour in the energy and resources.  We find ways to make the impossible possible.

No Time / Too Busy

Yes sometimes, sacrifices will have to be made especially with time.  Unless you can learn to focus better and work smarter with a limited time frame.  I cleared my cobwebs/distractions and now I’m excited to tackle new things.

Right now, my creative schedule revolves around my kids.  I work while they are at school.  Once school is done, my family and the house is my focus.  I then spend time with them and handle all the house related stuff.  I know not everyone can do the same schedule based on their circumstances.  Before you think, she so lucky.  My husband works 10 hour shifts, sometimes more.  If he’s not around, I am the only one there.

But the message is simple, focus on one thing.  Be present, be in the now – you’d get more done.  If you don’t give yourself time to handle something (house chores/project), no magic fairy will come and do it for you.

Although if a tax and accounting fairy reads this, please visit me during tax season next time.

Here’s what my days look like:

7 Wake up.  Cuddle the girls to wake up happy & prep the kids for school.

8:45 Drop them off at school.

9 Try and be human – eat breakfast, coffee, shower, etc

10 – 2 Focus Creative Work.  I usually have 1 to 2 goals I try to have a day.  One of them being my new social media content schedule, I’ll list below.

2 Eat lunch.

2.30 Leave to pick up kids

3:45 to 9:30 Kids, family, house needs.

9:30 Debate if I have energy levels to head to studio

9:35 to 10:45 Studio / Read / Casual Gaming / Netflix / Time to unwind

10:45 to 11:30 Head to bed

Before this new found focus, I would work till 2 am.  But my head was all over the place and trying to do too many things at once.  I barely got anything finished.  I was upset at myself for not having the house in order, my work piled up and barely taking care of my needs.  I was finding myself eating lunch outside my kids’ school just before they got out.  Yes lunch at 3 pm in a car.

Something had to give.  So I did sacrifice serious gaming.  I’ve been an avid gamer since I was little.  It was too distracting and time consuming.  I wasn’t enjoying it as much and started to feel more like work.

Now I actually spend less time working, but I shut down everything (social media included) until my goals for the day are done.  When you are focused, you’d be amazed at what you can do in short time frames.  Hitting my daily goals I feel accomplished and energized to tackle my next challenge.

My new social media content schedule is:

Mondays – work on the content for the rest of the week + bonus pics/vids

Tuesdays – Blog Tips / Lessons for other Creatives + New Project To Be Announced Soon

Wednesdays – Share Work In Progress photos on Instagram, FB & Twitter

Thursdays – Add #throwbackthursday photos on Instagram or old creative writing on medium.com

Fridays – Show a recently finished project on Instagram OR add a short video to Youtube.

Fear

Now with this focus, I’m also willing to try things I avoided before.  I’ve recently added content to youtube, and medium.com.  I’m also constantly updating my web site and adding content.  I still have many things I need to work on but moving forward is better than standing still.

I was afraid to do these things in the past because:

  1. I believed no one would look at my stuff
  2. the potential “bad” comments I’d get
  3. I’d have to learn a whole new platform
  4. I don’t have the know how to make great content for [insert platform]

Simply, I told myself.

  1. If I don’t post anything, my views will remain at 0.
  2. I can’t control how people will perceive my work but any negative comment can be removed or reported unless justified.
  3. I’m smart.  I’ll just take it one step at a time.
  4. Oh wow, look at the resource / knowledge / help section at Youtube/Medium/etc.

One step a day.  Don’t just read it.  Implement it.  Do it right then and there.  

No one’s asking you to do it all.  Pick one thing to focus on and tackle it daily.  I’d like to think of the turtle, taking slow sure steps and eventually reaching its destination.

No Money / Resources

The no money reason is valid for many.  I feel you there.  Having relied on a single income family for so long, I really do feel you.  But as a creative, I challenge you to try use the resources currently available to you.

Any chance you can use what you have now to do what you want?  I’m sure you would like pro equipment to do your project but until you can purchase them, can you make small projects with your current equipment to generate some income?

Can you borrow the equipment from family, friends, local library, church or even some community group?  There’s a lot of different groups out there, google what you need and your city.  You’d be amazed at what you can find like a tool library program.

Also don’t be afraid to check meetups.com – if you have the time to meet similar minded people, you may find some new friends.

A lot of companies also rent out the equipment, if you can’t purchase what you need at least check rental rates or buy second hand.

You can also barter / trade services with other creatives / professionals.  You may have skills in one area that they need help with in exchange for something you need.

When you are in a slump, its hard to think of other ways to accomplish what you need to do.  Stress stops you from being able to think outside of the box.

One thing I’ve learned is don’t be afraid to ask for help or point you to someone who can.  If you don’t reach out, nothing will change.  Even if they say no, you are exactly where you started.  Most people are generally helpful.  If they can’t help, they may at least lead you to someone who can.

I hope that my experiences and tips help you find some clarity/options to your problems.  I’d like to hear how did you get out of your creative funk?

I find that most of the times I was in a trap because of the conflicts inside my head.  Once I cleared my head and stress, creativity flew.  Till next week, take care of yourself.

much love,

P.S. Don’t forget comments and shares are always helpful!  Let me know what kind of things, you want me to write about.

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